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TopOCR's Accessible User Interface for Document Cameras!

TopOCR can directly read the OCR text output to you through its Text To Speech interface and it has a simple to use keyboard and mouse interface which does not require ANY visual feedback. TopOCR allows you to immediately listen to the audio after you scan the page and it also gives you the option of converting and backing-up your scanned documents as either MP3 or plain text files on a flash drive with just a single key press. This will allow you to use TopOCR with a third party application like a screen reader for example.

TopOCR's Accessibile User Interface for Document Cameras has been designed for people with a wide range of visual impairment. This interface is designed to give you as much camera scanning functionality that it can without having an overly complicated User Interface with a large number of complicated commands to remember. In addition, the Accessible Interface has no reliance upon visual feedback, nor any reliance upon GUI controls that require visual feedback. The Accessible Interface is based on a keyboard command system that primarily uses the easy to locate Function keys on the top row of a standard keyboard and an optional Accessible Mouse User Interface which uses the standard mouse scroll wheel and left and right mouse button for menu navigation and command selection. Each Accessible Command is just a single key press and each command also supplies audio feedback when pressed.

It also doesn't require visual feedback to launch the TopOCR application.
After you install TopOCR, you can launch TopOCR straight from the Windows DeskTop and put it in Accessible Mode in a simple 2 step process shown below:

1. Type "Cntrl-Alt-Q" to launch TopOCR
2. Type "Control-Q" to put TopOCR into Accessible Mode/ or back to GUI mode

The Four Basic Commands To Use TopOCR

It only requires you to remember as few as 4 Function Keys to use the basic reading function of TopOCR.

F1 key to scan, OCR and speak the output to you
F2 key to pause or resume the Text To Speech
F11 key to give a Help List of all commands
F12 key to exit the program (and optionally turn off your PC)

If you you don't want to use the functions keys, then you can enable the mouse interface and use the up and down mouse scroll wheel and the left and right mouse buttons to be the basic intface to TopOCR. With either approach, you only need to remember as little as 4 keys\menu scrolls to use the basic reading function of the system.

TopOCR Reader Accessible User Interface Function Keys


Here is a complete description of all of the Accessible Function Keys:

Esc - SeeHear Visual Translator 2.0 - announce a list of objects recognized in a webcam image
F1 - Scan an image, OCR the image, and read the OCR Output
F2 - Pause/Resume Text To Speech reading
F3 - Save the OCR text output as an MP3 audio file and copy it to an MP3 player or save it as text and copy it to a flash drive
F4 - Turn ON/OFF Super Resolution mode, - default is OFF
F5 - Select Operating Mode - Standard Mode, Straighten Columns Mode, Neural Warp Mode or Turbo Mode - default is Standard Mode
F6 - Select Document Camera or WebCam - Default if only 1 camera is present
F7 - Select Capture Delay Timer for Image Capture - Default is 10 seconds
F8 - Select Language for OCR and Speech - Default is English
F9 - Select between TAO OCR and LSTM OCR for recognition
F10 - Select Volume - select the volume of the voice
F11 - Audio and Screen Help Information
F12 - Exit TopOCR (and optionally shutdown PC)

TopOCR's Control Keys


The TopOCR Accessible User Interface also uses 6 easy to locate (Control+QWERTY) control keys that are described below:

Control-Q - switch between the Accessible User Interface mode and the standard Windows GUI mode - the default is the standard Windows GUI mode.

Control-W - turn ON/OFF "Debug Mode" (before OCR text is spoken - announce number of spelling errors, light level and document alignment) - default is OFF.

Control-E - list all of the installed languages for TAO OCR.

Control-R - change the format of the saved OCR text output as either an MP3 audio or raw text file.

Control-T - change Exit TopOCR F12 key function (exit application only or exit application and shutdown PC - the default is exit application only).

Control-Y - turn ON/OFF Mouse Accessible User Interface - default is OFF.

TopOCR's Scroll Control Keys

TopOCR also has four keys to allow you to scroll a displayed image.

Down Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image downward
Up Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image upward
Left Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image to the left
Right Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image to the right

TopOCR Accessible Mouse UI

The Accessible Mouse UI uses the standard left and right mouse button and vertical scroll wheel. You can move the scroll wheel up or down to scroll through the Command Menu shown below.

You can select the command you just scrolled to with the left mouse button, or pause/resume the Text To Speech with the right mouse button. These two buttons and the menu scroll wheel can serve as the entire operating interface and can also be used in combination with the keyboard interface!

TopOCR Mouse Command Menu

Use the mouse scroll wheel to scroll up or down through the list of commands and the left mouse button to select the command and the right mouse button to pause or resume the Text To Speech.

  1. Scan an image from the document camera, OCR the image, and read the OCR Output
  2. Convert the OCR Text To Speech to an MP3 audio file and copy it to an MP3 player or save as a text file
  3. Select Operating Mode - Standard, Straighten Columns, Neural Warp, Turbo Mode
  4. Select Capture Delay Timer for Image Capture - Default is 10 seconds
  5. Select Text format or MP3 format for OCR Output Save Format
  6. Turn ON/OFF "Debug Mode"
  7. Turn On/Off Super Resolution Mode
  8. Audio and Screen Help Information
  9. Scroll scanned image UP
  10. Scroll scanned image DOWN
  11. Scroll scanned image LEFT
  12. Scroll scanned image RIGHT
  13. Shutdown

Using TopOCR's Debug Mode (Control-W)

The Debug Mode will tell you the light level (a level of 10 or greater is recommended). It will also tell you if there is any text that that have been clipped at the edge of the image, as well as the number of spelling errors. Please note that spelling errors will include words not in the dictionary as well as OCR errors.

TopOCR's Text To Speech System with Multiple Voices

Please note that TopOCR is configured by default to be a US English system and so does have a dependency on a US English MS Speech voice being available in order to use the TTS system. If you are operating on a version of Windows on any location other than US English, then you will need to install the MicroSoft Speech US English voice and optionally any additional voices you may require. Please go to our Voices page for more information.

TopOCR Installation

After you double-click on the TopOCR installation file there are 3 steps to complete the installation:

  1. Select "Yes" to allow User Account Control to install the program
  2. Press "Enter" to begin installation
  3. Press "Enter" to finish installation

TopOCR Configuration

Once you've installed TopOCR on your PC then you're ready to configure it for use with your document camera. This generally only needs to be done once and takes just a few seconds to complete.

1. Plug your document camera into a USB 2.0 port on your PC.
2. Launch the TopOCR application by typing Ctrl+Alt+Q from the DeskTop Window.
3. Type "Control-Q" to put TopOCR into Accessible Mode.
4. TopOCR's default language is English, if you want to use the Accessibile User Interface with another language, then use the F8 key to select another language.
5. If you have a PC with more than one webcam/document camera, use the F6 key to select the correct document camera.
6. The default document camera OCR engine is TAO OCR chosen for its high speed, however if you prefer higher accuracy instead, use the F9 key to select the LSTM OCR engine for recognition. The LSTM engine is more accurate, but several times slower in performance, you can use the F9 key to select either OCR engine betweeen pages.

TopOCR's configuration, like its operation is 100% Accessible, there are no on screen dialogs, menus, or buttons that would require the use of an external screen reader. All functions are handled through the keyboard.

Document Camera Image Alignment

It's very important to get good image alignment of the document capture area to the Document Camera!

We recommend using tape markers to mark on the the white side of the image capture mat the corners of the outlines of both the document camera and the image capture border area.
Putting simple tactile markers at the corners of these two locations will help you align the image capture area to the document camera.

You can also apply a small piece of tape to the top of TopOCR Reader Document Camera to mark the location of the LED on/off switch so it also accessible by touch.

The camera's acquisition area is 8 1/2 inches wide by 11 inches long.

To acquire the best image possible, make sure the image capture pad is white side up and that the image the camera acquires is blank, without pencils, cups, etc in the image!

Place the document's left top edge about an inch below and from the left of the on the left corner of the image mat capture area.. and then press the F1 key.

TopOCR and the Clipboard

After OCR, TopOCR automatically places the recognized text in the clipboard, you can then switch to another application and paste the output into this application. TopOCR also allows you to paste images with "Control-V" into the clipboard and have them automatically read to you. A "quick and dirty" screen reader can be easily implemented in TopOCR's Accessible User Interface by typing "Ctrl + Alt + Print Screen" and then typing "Control V" in TopOCR.

TopOCR Keyboard Shortcut

When you install TopOCR it automatically creates a keyboard shortcut. Pressing the Ctrl+Alt+Q key combination will launch TopOCR from the DeskTop. If you want to change the TopOCR keyboard shortcut key to another letter, you can by using the following procedure:

1. Right-click on the DeskTop TopOCR shortcut, and then click Properties
2. In the Shortcut Properties dialog box, click the Shortcut tab
3. Click in the Shortcut key box, press the key on your keyboard that you want to use in combination with Ctrl+Alt, for instance "G" and then click OK.

After this step has been performed, pressing Ctrl+Alt+G key combination will launch TopOCR from the DeskTop.

TopOCR's MP3 File Creation

The MP3 creation command initiates a procedure that automatically converts the OCR text output into MP3 audio AND writes MP3 files to the root directory of an MP3 player using an auto-incrementing naming system of Page 1, Page2, Page3...Page9999. As a result, you don't need a screen reader to navigate a file save dialog and respond to multiple GUI controls to save your OCR output like you would with a standard Windows application. Instead, we replace all of that with just a single key press (F3) that does everything for you automatically and even tells you when it's done!!

SeeHear Visual Translator (Version 2.0)

The SeeHear Visual Translator is a Deep Convolutional Neural Network that can recognize 80 different types of objects based on the COCO (Common Objects in Context) Image DataBase. When you press the SeeHear function key Esc, it will announce to you through TopOCR's Text To Speech System a list of up to 5 objects that it has recognized in a frame captured from your webcam.

SeeHear 106 Layer Deep Fully Convolutional Neural Network

  1. arbitrary resolution RGB webcam image is automatically scaled to Neural Network input layer
  2. 106 deep fully convolutional layers that make connections at 3 different scales
  3. 5 down sampling layers
  4. non-linear down-sampling layer
  5. multilabel classification
  6. recognition output is automatically converted to Text To Speech and played on your headset

SeeHear's Deep Convolutional Neural Network requires over 27 billion floating point calculations to process the full network pipeline with all 106 layers. This neural network can perform object recognition on a VGA sized(640x480) webcam image using a 4-core Intel 3.4GHz i7-6700 (CPU only) at a rate of about 8 frames per second!. This function is multi-threaded and will take advantage of multi-core systems.

Before you use SeeHear, make sure you have a webcam with a resolution of 640x480 or greater attached to your PC!

To use SeeHear, first, press the F6 key to select the appropriate webcam (or skip this step if there is only one camera attached), then point your webcam at any scene you want to recognize, and then press the Esc key. Then you will hear a list of recognized objects spoken to you through TopOCR's Text To Speech interface. If you want to return to document scanning, then press the F6 key and select your document camera instead of your webcam, or you can press the Esc key again to recognize another frame from your webcam.

A recommended platform to use with SeeHear would be a notebook PC running Windows 10 in the $299 to $599 price range with a built-in webcam and HDMI port.

Using TopOCR 57 with a RAM Disk

TopOCR's TAO OCR function can be optimized by use of a RAM Disk. This can also be a useful feature on flash memory disk file systems used by low cost tablets and stick PCs, because a RAM Disk can reduce the "wear" on a flash file system. More information on configuring the RAM Disk can be found here.

The TopOCR Reader distribution flash drive includes a ramdisk installation directory that is a derivitive of imdisk. It contains a copy of the imdisk toolkit called "ImDiskTk".

This optional step takes less than a minute to complete. First, install ImDiskTk and then run the configuration and formatting tool and create a ram disk with the drive letter of "Z:" and a drive label of "TopOCR". We recommend a 32 MB ram disk. You need to create the ram disk with these parameters in order for it to work correctly with TopOCR, otherwise it will simply default to your hard drive. Please note that when Windows performs an update it may delete your RAM Disk so you will have to reconfigure and format it.

Deleting The Ram Disk
If you want to delete the TopOCR Ram Disk, then in the Windows File Manager, select the "TopOCR (Z:)" drive and and then "right-click" on it with your mouse and then select "Unmount ImDisk Virtual Disk".